Daniel 2:44-45

Have you met the Messiah? Do you know that which has been prophesied about Him? Observe one of the blessed prophecies about some things He will do:

Daniel 2:44-45

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands - a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy”

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If you have compared the translation of NIV with the original Aramaic in Interlinear Bible then you have probably seen that this is a very good one. There have not arised great quarrels about the translation from Aramaic to the Bible versions in other languages. But there are many different interpretations of the prophecy, as it happened with the previous passage, and God wants us to be able to expose them, so that neither we or those who hear us will be deceived.

When commenting the empires represented by the statue which Nebuchadnezzar saw, in the message corresponding to Daniel 2:29-40, we saw two wrong interpretations (the so called "classic" interpretation and the "Maccabean Thesis") which argued to show that Daniel's prophecy was completely fulfilled with Ancient Greece. A last false doctrine we need to expose - that's why we deal with it here - is even more deceitful than those, because it identifies "almost" correctly the empires.

There are two greater divisions registered in the history of the church:

- East-West Schism (in 1054 AD) wich divided the church in "catholic", with Rome as its seat, and "ortodox", with Constantinople, corresponding to the division which had taken place in the Roman Empire

- The "Reformation" (from 1517 AD, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses at the door of All-Saints Church in Witenberg, protesting the sale of indulgences) In that process were the West Church divided in "catholics" and "protestants". The false doctrine that we deal with here came out because of this second division.

The "freedom of conscience" or "freedom of religion" guarantees every person nowadays in most countries the right to believe in God (or in a false "god" or "gods") or of being an atheist. In theology it is called "free will", a quality of the human being which God gave us - that's why Adam and Eve fell and obeyed Satan instead of God. But it wasn't that way in the times of the birth of Protestantism. Under the medieval church nobody talked about "freedom of religion". Some precursors of Martin Luther, as Girolamo Savonarola and John Huss, were put to death because of their preaching, and Luther himself would have been executed too, without the protection of Frederick III of Saxony. Although God saved Luther's life and guarded him to give birth to a reformed church, he was excommunicated and treated as heretical.

The persecution of the papacy, who treated as heretical not only Luther but every reformer, caused several of them to identify the Pope as the "Antichrist". To resist the effect of the "new" faith and to consolidate their supremacy, the Roman church initiated a process known as "Counter-Reformation". Is in this context that the jesuit priest Luis de Alcázar (1554-1613) developed an interpretation called as "Preterism" - from "praeteritum", preterit - which, in order to separate the Pope and the Catholic Church from every connection with apocalyptic prophecies, identified the empires as this (we compare with other false doctrines):

Silver               Media                  Persia and Media          Persia and Media
Bronze              Persia                   Greece (Alexander)     Greece
Iron                   Greece                  Greece (Diadochi)         Rome
Iron+Clay      Diadochi              Diadochi's Treaties    Rome (Antiquity*)

* Observe that we mark "antiquity" because Rome could mean the Republic, the Empire, the West Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire or other "Rome" that would arise again. The preterist interpretation sees in the feet of iron mixed with clay the Imperial Rome before 70 AD.

The core in "Preterism" is that in the Roman Empire of antiquity, and with Jerusalem's fall in 70 AD, all the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation were fulfilled. But if we read about Rome's history, it was in that year when the Romans strangled a Jewish revolt, killed more than a million Jews, destroyed Jerusalem and demolished the temple. Many of the Jews who didn't die were sold as slaves through the Empire (it is the beginning of the well-known "diaspora") We want to remember that by that time, a great part of the church were Jews, so this disaster included many Christians as well.

How could it be possible that in 70 AD were fulfilled the "Second Coming of the Lord", the "resurrection fo the dead", "Satan was bound" and "the Kingdom of God came" is something hard to for preterists to explain (even if someone should try, I shouldn't want my brain to "learn to think wrong") After a brief period that followed  this massacre and scattering of Jews, commenced a ca. 200 years long period of persecution of the church. The Roman emperors decided to anihilate Christianity. Preterism nowadays has different schools, but they are all wrong when they see the Kingdom of God coming in 70 AD *. It should be evident for everyone with the faculty of thought that a "kingdom" that persecuted Christians to death, crucified them, burned them and delivered them to the beasts on the arena, is not the "Kingdom of God".

Which Kingdom are we talking about then?

If we observe Daniel's prophecy in these verses, we'll see that he is talking about a "kingdom". In a previous message, corresponding to Daniel 2:34-35, we saw that this kingdom is often mentioned in the Old Testament, and also in the New one. On the whole, we can define it as a government both civil and religious, which will unify humankind and will begin with the Messiah, coming to Jerusalem. The prophecies in OT - especially in the books of Daniel and Isaiah - about this kingdom that will "crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever" and "will never be destroyed" are corroborated by those of Our Lord in the gospels and those of the apostle John in the book of Revelation (among others)

Please note carefully that this kingdom comes with the "Messiah" - Our Lord Jesus Christ. In Daniel 7 this is especially prophesied in some extension. Even when we will deal also with Daniel 7, if the Lord allows, let's see only a summary about that which this chapter asserts about the Kingdom of God:

1- Daniel 7:7, 23 - There will be a 4th empire (Rome) represented by the "terrifying beast"
2- Daniel 7:8, 24-25 - From this empire will arise the "little horn" (Antichrist)
3- Daniel 7:9-10, 26 - The Court in Heaven will judge both that kingdom and Antichrist
4- Daniel 7:11-12 - This kingdom has a different judgement that the other ones
5- Daniel 7:13-14 - After the judgement of the "beast" and the "little horn", the Messiah will come before God the Father to receive the eternal kingdom
6- Daniel 7:17-18, 27 - The believers will reign, together with their Messiah

Why do we identify this "son of man" in Daniel 7 with the Messiah, Our Lord Jesus Christ?

The Messiah - from Hebrew "Mashíakh" which means "the anointed one"; in NT greek is translated "Khristós" - is in OT prophecy a descendant of king David, who would come to restore Israel and to establish an eternal kingdom on earth, where everyone should know and follow the real God (then justice would dwell on earth forever) About Him predicted some of the OT's prophets:

1- The times of his birth and death (Daniel 9:25-26)
2- His quality of Divine, Son of God (Isaiah 9:6)
3- His birthplace (Micah 5:2)
4- That He would be born from a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
5- That He would minister the Jewish people (Isaiah 9:6-7; Micah 5:2)
6- That He would minister the Gentiles as well (Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:6-7; Psalms 2, 72)
7- That He would suffer and die for sinners (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53)
8- That He would resurrect from the dead (Isaiah 53:10-12)
9- That it would be a time of opression for Israel between the first and the second coming of the Messiah, the "times of the Gentiles" (Daniel 12:7; compare with Luke 21:24)
10- That He would come back at the end of the "times of the Gentiles" to bring the Kingdom of God to earth (Daniel 7)

Observe in prophecy number 10 the kingdom which will rule by that time (the "times of those kings" = "ten kings" in Daniel 7, Revelation 17) and whose fall is different from the other ones (Daniel 7:12) Even when it is true that the "terrifying beast" represents Rome, IT IS NOT TRUE that it is the Roman Empire which fell before the "barbarians" 476 AD. If we observe the prophecy in Luke 21:24, which confirms Daniel 12:7, we'll see that both of them talk about a certain period of time, which we need to define. Certainly Our Lord prophesied Jerusalem's fall with detail, which would take place in 70 AD (Luke 21:20-24):

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"

I don't know about your response; this passage makes me more humble and reverent before God's power and supernatural knowledge of the things to come. Our Lord Jesus Christ prophesied in these verses what would happen with the Jewish people for ca. 2000 years. The horrible massacre and the slavery and diaspora of the Jews, the "wrath against this people", were prophesied by him in one of the most perfect statements. Now, look at this important detail which will dash the absurd preterist idea, in Luke 21:24: "... Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles UNTIL the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". It means that, when the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled, come to an end, then Jerusalem will belong to the Jews again.

What are these "times of the Gentiles"?

They aren't definitively some times when "Gentiles exist". "Gentiles" are all persons which don't descend from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which means that they aren't Jews. And "Gentiles" existed form the very beginning of mankind and long before Jerusalem's fall, as well as there will be "Gentiles" when Jerusalem return to the Jewish people (when it is no longer "tramped on by the Gentiles")

Maybe are we talking about some "times" when the "Gentiles" do something special? Observe this important detail in Daniel 12:7, prophesying about the same issue:

"The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”

The prophet is receiving a revelation about the duration of the "time of distress" of Daniel 12:1 (which is three and a half years, as we will see) and the declaration that all things in this prophecy will take place "when the power of the holy people has been finally broken". This is the translation of "u keshalót napéts yad am kódesh", which can be also rendered "when they cease breaking the power of the holy people" (meaning when the people of Israel gets out of its persecution and gets back their land and Jerusalem)

Now observe "breaking the power of Israel", and "fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations", whereas Jerusalem is "trampled on by the Gentiles". As this "time of distress" in the prophecy is called "great distress" in Mattehw 24:21, in the words of Our Lord (or "great tribulation" in King James Bible) the act of "breaking the power of the holy people" is called "times of the Gentiles". Both prophecies place the "great tribulation" after the "times of the Gentiles"

Daniel himself prophesied about this period also, and he mentioned some facts which would occur within it, in Daniel 9:26-27:

"After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him"

In this prophecy,

"sevens" = "weeks" of years
"Anointed One" = "Messiah"
"people of the ruler..." = Rome
"He" (the "ruler") = Antichrist
"the city and the sanctuary" = Jerusalem and the temple

The period of 62 "sevens" is, together with other 7 "sevens", a certain lenght of time which points with mathematical precision to the time of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. "AFTER" this period, the Messiah would die, the "people of the ruler" would destroy "the city and the sanctuary" (Jerusalem and he temple were destroyed by Rome and "trampled on by the Gentiles" - let's remember that the "Romans" were "Gentiles") and "war" with "desolations" were decreed (Jerusalem's fall is one among several episodes of the Jewish-Roman wars) Now listen: this "ruler" of the people which would come and destroy Jerusalem is a Roman one (from some of the empires called Rome in history) and it is said that he will "confirm a covenant" for a "seven" (seven years) but will betray Israel because "in the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering" (the Jewish worship, taking place in a restored temple in Jerusalem)

Daniel 9:26-27 implicates that between "week number 69" (the last one before the Messiah's birth) and "week number 70" (when the Antichrist rules, the great tribulation takes place and God's judgements are cast on earth, as Revelation shows) there is a period of time. Is in this period that the Messiah is born, lives, prophesies, dies and resurrects. Romans besiege Jerusalem, conquer it, destroy it and devastate Israel. Then this period of time is the same as the "breaking the power of the holy people" in Daniel 12, and "times of the Gentiles" in Luke 21.

BUT THEN it is not possible to define as "feet of iron and clay" the Roman Empire before 70 AD! Rome is "iron legs" untill its fall in 476 DC, because even its division between West and East empires with Rome and Constantinople was an administrative issue, not a armed conflict. The Byzantine Empire fell 1453 AD before the muslim turks. The Holy Roman Empire ended with the abdication of the last emperor in 1806 AD before Napoleon Bonaparte. We don't need further investigation to know that resurrection hasn't occurred on none of those years, and that the Lord has not come back neither the Millennial Kingdom.

That "Rome" represented by "feet of iron mixed with clay" is taking form. But it has not yet recovered from the "fatal wound" which is mentioned in Revelation 13:3. At the beginning of that prophetical chapter, John saw the "fourth beast" of Daniel, but in a different dimension and in other times. That prophecy of the "fatal wound" has been partially fulfilled in 476, 1453 and 1806 AD. But Rome's last restoration, when its "fatal wound was healed", is yet to come.

Back with Daniel 2:44-45, the God of Heaven has not yet set up that kingdom which is represented by a "rock" that was "cut out, but not by human hands". But we wait for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will defeat the Antichrist and bring the Kingdom of God, where the will of God will "be done on earth, as it is in heaven" and where we will be "delivered from evil" (Satan will be bound for a thousand years, and cast on hell, later. You can read it in Revelation 20) Only by the Second Coming will the resurrection of the believers take place (as it is prophesied in Daniel 12, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4 and Revelation 20)

If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, there's time yet! All you need to do is to kneel before Him in pray, confess your sins, ask Him for forgiveness and receive Him as the Lord of your life, and the Savior of your soul.

May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother

Israel Leonard

PS Jesus is coming soon!

NOTE about "Preterism"

There are "partial preterists" - who wait for Christ Second Coming and the resurrection - and "full preterists" who believe that everything, including the Second Coming and the resurrection, is fulfilled. I'm not really aware of how can it be that something so important has happened and it is not registered in history books, neither commented in newspappers, radio or TV news. At least, I have not heard about it. Somebody commented that preterists should need a new version of the Lord's prayer, "your kingdom has come; your will was done on earth as it is in heaven; you have delivered us from evil forever". Some errors in the doctrine:

1) The "feet of iron and clay" are identified with the Roman Empire before 70 AD (the previous message explains why it is wrong)
2) The preterist interpretation points heavily to the words that the prophets used to date the events (soon, after a generation, etc) If we read 2nd Peter 3:8 we can understand that, talking about that issue, the apostle marked a sharp line between time "with the Lord" - who abides on eternity - and "with us". An historical event that is suppossed to happen next month is "coming soon" in our perception, but is coming after 30 000 years in Gods way of counting.
3) They identify "Kingdom of God" only as a spiritual one, and sometimes deny an eternal kingdom. We can see that because of many external and internal reasons, the church has never fulfilled the prophecies of the Bible about the "Kingdom of God" (and will never do it, if we read the prophecies carefully) Besides, in the "Kingdom of God" nobody will talk about "freedom of religion", "democracy" and that kind of concepts. There will be one God, known by everyone, and the Messiah will reign over the whole world. Evidently that time hasn't come yet.
4) They identify the "beast" with emperor Nero, trying to see the numerical value of his Hebrew name as "666". But Nero's name in Hebrew numeration system corresponds to 616, and besides, he lived and died before the writing of the book of Revelation (John should hardly prophecy that Jesus Christ defeated him in the Second Coming)
5) Other ones identify the "beast" with Domitian, another Roman emperor, which should be the "beast" whose "fatal wound" was healed (being the death of Nero the "fatal wound") But even when it would be terrible, Domitian's persecution of Christians can't be compared with that of the emperors who would reign the next two centuries, which decided to anihilate Christianity. Besides, Domitian is not the "8th king" counting from Augustus neither from Nero (preterists need to force the historical evidence to make it fit their interpretations)
6) They identify the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with Jerusalem's fall in 70 AD (the previous message explains why it is wrong)

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